The May Bank Holiday was a brilliant weekend for me for a number of reasons.
#1. It was my friend's 30th birthday and we had planned a surprise weekend away at a converted barn in the middle of countryside just north of London in a place called Hitchin. It was a fantastic weekend, super chilled, beautifully sunny and with some quality friends.
#2. Then on the Bank Holiday Monday and Tuesday I was lucky enough to have tickets to visit the HTB Leadership Conference at the Royal Albert Hall. It was so inspiring. A bit like a breath of fresh air in the midst of the droll of daily life. Imagine learning and worshiping with 7000 other people in one room! It looked a bit like this -
There were a number of things that challenged me. Having had a chance to reflect over all that I have heard and experienced I will try to relay some of the ways that God was speaking to me.
- I was reminded of God's faithful character. If you have ever read the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis you might recall that one of the ways that the devils try to undermine God's plan is by making Christians think they are fine with God, when actually they are slowly drifting away. Well I think that for me it has been easy to think that because I work for Christian charity and take part in corporate prayer all the time, that I am fine with God. Obviously it takes more of an active engagement on my part and this conference reminded me of how faithful God is at calling us back to himself.
- I was challenged about how much I trust God. Kay Warren, wife of Rick Warren who wrote The Purpose Drive Life and leads a big church called Saddleback in California shared a message that was so powerful I have just been speaking to everyone about it. There was too much goodness in there for me to type it all out so you can watch the whole thing for yourselves
- My faith and expectancy levels were raised. In short, my housemate has been suffering with a trapped nerve in a neck/spine and for the last 4 weeks has been in varying levels of pain. At the time of the conference I had a stiff neck too. During the conference there were opportunities for people to have prayer for healing and despite my neck injury being ridiculously non-serious, I really felt like I should go and get prayer for it. As I was being prayed for my neck really wasn't feeling any better but I just had a sense that my housemate's would be improving. And it was true! The pain she was experiencing significantly improved over those days.
One of the things I found pretty inspiring was just hearing from normal people that God was using in pretty incredible ways. It just reminded me that when we are obedient to God he can use us to do more than we ever imagined.
I would really recommend listening to talks or going to this conference yourself - it is well spent money!